New Tool Could Help Narrow the Skills Gap
Thousands of college graduates are trying to land their first professional job in a tough labor market. In today’s competitive environment, simply having a degree or certificate and a can-do attitude does not guarantee success.
Many are embarking on their careers woefully underprepared and unqualified for the types of jobs they desire. The result is a deficit of candidates with the skills employers need and a surplus of young, debt-ridden, college-educated professionals wondering if all that time and money they invested in higher education will pay off.
The business community will lose out, too, if it continues to have millions of people without jobs and jobs without people. Businesses and our economy cannot succeed without well-educated and trained workers who are ready to hit the ground running on day one of employment. The key to success for today’s students and others who are returning to school to increase their skills lies with choosing the right institution and the right course of study.
To help them accomplish this—and help provide businesses with the workers they need—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation partnered with the American Institutes for Research, Gallup Inc., and USA Funds to create an interactive tool called “Launch My Career.” This tool equips students with the information they need to make smart decisions and acquire the training and skills necessary to offer the greatest value to their communities and potential employers.
Launch My Career, which is currently available in Colorado and Tennessee and will soon expand to Texas and Minnesota, will help students define their skills, learn about future job prospects, and understand what return they will get on their investments.
Employment opportunity is an important factor, but it’s not the only thing that students should consider when researching degree programs. A number of factors go into making this consequential decision, including personal interests, preferred career tracks, and lifestyle goals. Launch My Career takes those things into consideration while showing individuals their earning potential, suggesting hot jobs, and outlining necessary certifications to actually land those jobs.
At a time when businesses desperately need bright and ambitious young minds, this free tool could transform the makeup of today’s workforce to include more graduates with the marketable, concrete skills they need to get hired and be successful.
No one wins when college graduates can’t find jobs and companies can’t find qualified candidates. By introducing this program—and others like it—the Chamber and its partners hope to narrow the skills gap and help those entering the job market unlock their full potential.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thomas J. Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.